This is the first of 6 reviews that I will post under the title “The Gurkha Experiment”. Since the beginning of my time on Puff I have noticed an unmatched criticism voiced against Gurkhas. Some posters cite experiences with burn issues and shoddy construction. Some seemingly jump on the bandwagon absent of any real familiarity with the brand. I have smoked a handful from this maker, but none have been terribly notable to me (either in a positive or negative way). Recently I went digging through my humidors and coolers to find a total of 6 different Gurkhas that I have either purchased or received in trades on Puff. I want to give these cigars a fair shake by approaching them with an open mind and seeing what they really have to offer. If they do indeed suck, I have no problem saying that, but I suspect that the voices of opposition simply tend to be louder and there are plenty of content Gurkha smokers among us who are more interested in enjoying their cigars than debating them.
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper origin: Connecticut
Wrapper type: Broadleaf
Filler / Binder: Dominican Republic
Vitola: Double Perfecto
Pics from my review on Photobucket
This stick was rested ~6 months @ 65Rh.
The wrapper was a medium brown with some small veins but nothing significant. There were a couple minor wrinkles towards the foot, but overall the cigar seemed well constructed. There were two separate bands that took up over 40% of the stick’s surface area. They seemed a bit over-the-top for a perfecto, but were harmless, so whatever.
The foot had a surprisingly robust tobacco scent with a slight cocoa essence. I trimmed about 1/4” off of the head with a guillotine cutter in order to give a better pull. The draw was mild with a “bright” tobacco flavor that bordered slightly on acidic. I toasted the foot with a torch before finishing with a wooden match and purging a couple times.
Once the cigar was lit, I found the draw to be a little tight. This improved as I went along, but was still annoying for several minutes. The flavors however got off to a good start immediately with hints of leather and soil. It was a refreshing profile with a slight “tanginess” but without any astringency. The burn wasn’t razor sharp, but it came along fine on its own without any touch-ups. The ash was a darker grey, layered nicely, and held very tight to the cigar.
The flavor didn’t change drastically as I moved into the 2nd third of the stick. It maintained its mild profile and while the tangy nuances fell away, the leather flavor became slightly woody and mildly sweet. The cigar began to canoe in this section. I left it alone to work itself out, but began to strip off the bands before they became scorched at the halfway point. The burn issues managed to resolve themselves and aside from being ugly, they were of little consequence. I did become a little concerned with how “spongy” the cigar began to feel as I moved towards the nub. The flavors stayed on course, becoming only a little more pronounced as I went along.
I was surprised by how fast this cigar moved along. I was coming into the nub after only 40 minutes. The flavors steadily became more robust, but still similar. The leather flavor returned and was accompanied by a slight nuttiness. The burn remained spastic, but I never had to put a flame to it after the initial light. Total smoking time ended up being 55 minutes.
I think this is definitely an all-day smoke. As quick as it burned, you could almost enjoy one after lunch before heading back to the office. If you want to smoke them on the course, I suggest you take at least 3. Contrary to popular theory- the wrapper never exploded (or even cracked) and the flavor was not adversely affected by the burn problems. They did however make me a little anxious throughout my time smoking. For some reason (mainly people’s chatter) I kept waiting for the stick to blow-up in my face like a gag cigar. Overall, this was a fairly one-dimensional smoke that never tasted bad, but didn’t wow me either. The MSRP is $30, but they can be had for well under $5. If you pick a few up on an auction site at that price, then I think they are worth having around.